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Space 1999 - The Troubled Spirit

episode 1.22

UK / Italy 1976
produced by
Sylvia Anderson, Gerry Anderson (executive) for Group 3/ITC, RAI
directed by Ray Austin
starring Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse, Prentis Hancock, Nick Tate, Zienia Merton, Giancarlo Prete, Hilary Dwyer (= Hilary Heath), Anthony Nicholls, Valentino Musetti, Clifton Jones, Anton Phillips, Suzanne Roquette
screenplay by Johnny Byrne, created by Gerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, music by Barry Gray

Space 1999

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The Moonbase alpha on earth's runaway moon: botanist Dan Mateo (Giancarlo Prete) has developed a machine to communicate with plants telepathically, but in one experiment something goes horribly wrong, & from here on the whole moonbase suffers from freak temperature drops & even freakier winds (inside the moonbase !!). & then the moonbase's doctor Russell (Barbara Bain) even has some strange vision of a mutilted crewman (Valentino Musetti), who seems to vanish into thin air & cannot be accounted for ...

So Commander Koenig has no alternative but to shut down Mateo's experiments (much to his dismay) to try to normalize the situation ... but not so, soon enough both Mateo's boss Warren (Anthony Nicholls) & his assistant Laura (Hilary Dwyer) are brutally murdered after they had a rowe with Mateo - but Mateo has a watertight alibi.

Soon it is found out that at the time of the murders something was measured at the scene of the crime that resembles the wavelength of Mateo's telepathy machine ... & eventually Koenig & his teanm come up with a weird idea to get to the bottom of it all: they confine Mateo in a forcefield that is impenetrable by the wavelength they have measured at the scenes of the crime & wait what happens ... & soon enough some being, looking like a horribly mutilated crewman, appears inside the forcefield, & fights it out with Mateo - until ultimately they both die. but once dead, the being disappears, & Mateo shows exactly the kind of mutilations the being has shown ... it seems Alpha has been haunted by Mateo's own spirit.


Now there's a golden rule for all sci-fi-filmmakers: Never mix space opera & ghost story, because either of these genres lives on suspensin of disbelief, but combined, credulity is just strained way too far for the story still to work. But of course, if you have to absolutely blend the 2 genres, at least refrain from letting the spirit travel through time backwards !!!

This episode does of course all of the above, & for exactly those reasons it doesn't work at all, & it doesn't even provide the fun other badly written episodes of Space 1999 tend to do.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD